Tuesday, February 2, 2010

the big 3 for me: managing my time, my expecations and my mornings

Motherhood has been a pretty consistent struggle for me, I'm sure that's no secret. It's a constant battle of dying to myself, choosing to play blocks or "imaginary voices" with Maggie when I would rather be reading a book, and just choosing not to "check out" multiple times a day. For me, this is one of the main reasons I wanted to implement some type of media fast. I noticed how often I would check my email or my Facebook or be reading the paper when one of my children would need me and I would get a little miffed internally: "Don't they see I'm doing something 'important?!'" I was noticing how easily an inner-conflict would arise in me when I was doing one of "my" activities and my kids were present. Taking a conscious break from media and limiting my times on email every day has truly reinvigorated my role as a mom. I think last week was one of the most fun weeks I've had with my kids in a very long time. I felt more relaxed, at ease, and truly enjoyed interacting with them.

I've thought about this more intently the past 7 days and am realizing that for me, motherhood is about managing the big 3 and managing them well: my time, my expectations, and my mornings. I need to use the time I do have for "my" tasks/chores/hobbies/wants well: when the kids nap, when they are having room time, when they go to bed. I need to utilize the times when they are not around to be productive on my end, or to relax well. Of course, I'm not saying only give your children 100% of your focus all day long; this isn't realistic. We have tasks to do around the house when they are with us, we need to run errands and of course, they come along, etc. I'm saying that for me, I'm learning more and more what it means to manage my time well so I can more fully enjoy my kids. And it's working. I feel this has been a 3 year process finally coming to a head last week. Along this same vein is managing expectations. If I can more realistically take a look at my day, I'll know when I can put in time to relax or time to knock some to-do's off my list in peace and quiet. This is helping me become a less frustrated and chaotic mom; I have such times built into my day so I know when to expect them. I know when they are coming and I can wait for them. And lastly, I need to start my morning before my kids; I just do. There is nothing more unpleasant for me about rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and barely having a conscious thought in my mind and having to get my children 5 minutes later. I can be pretty crabby at that point. Rather, if I wake up early, the house is quiet (and so is my mind!) and I can grab a cup of coffee, read the Word/pray/journal for a bit, then jump on a few of the those to-dos. My day starts of TREMENDOUSLY better with this one espeically in place.

Do you have a big 3?


  1. I always love reading your well put thoughts on all things, especially motherhood :)

    Hmmm, my big 3....

    Organization/planning ahead is big. I am not present and pleasant if we are running around before school going "Where's the other glove? Where is an envelope for lunch money? etc." It starts everybody's day badly. So, as much as I don't always feel like it, we prepare the night before for whatever the next day's activity is. I've noticed a change for the better in my kid's days since I've started this

    Mommy & Daddy time...I'm not sure why it took me so long to understand this, but for a long time, it was "get this done, get that done" after the kids were in bed. But my kids suffered for that, I think. They NEED Mommy and Daddy to feel connected and happy. It's more important then if I got the kitchen mopped.

    I guess my 3rd is expectations as well. More now with the new baby and having 4 kids. The house is not as clean and organized as I would like these days. I get the boys out the door to school, turn around, look at the house, and I could (and have) cried. But, if I say "Ok, I'll put the baby in the sling, pick the kid's stuff up off the living room floor and vacuum. Then I'll sit down." That's doable. Then, after feeding, changing, playing w/ the girls, I can tell myself that I'll do the bathroom now. Having reasonable expectations of myself and letting myself off the hook somewhat makes me a much better Momma then when I'm running around in a tizzy, wanting my house to be picture perfect (which it never will be, anyway.) Then, I can slow down and dance with my kids :)

    It was great to really stop and think about this...thanks, Suzanne. I'll stop now since I've written a novel in your comment section...but you asked! lol Definitely going to be thinking about this more!

  2. Hey Suz,
    Can I just ditto you?
    I get so caught up with so much work, and then the house, and then we're late for something and I'm frantic, the kids are upset and the mood is negative.
    I DEFINITELY need to set my alarm and stop making excuses.

  3. Such good words, friend. Always good to hear. I struggle with some of this as well. It's like we talked about the other day - when it boils down to it, we're kinda lazy and selfish with our time. It's hard to break that habit, especially when there is so little of our own time! Thanks for these reminders.

    I think for me too, and you sort of hinted at this, is readjusting my expectations of what I'm going to get done each day. With 1 kid, I pretty much got it all done, now with 3, I'm lucky to get 2 things completed. I've found that stepping back and taking a look at bigger pic helps: all my kids want is a happy mom, not a perfectly clean house and all that. It makes such sense, but can be SO hard to implement. Anyway. I'm trying...


  4. wow...i'm in deep thought now.

    1st - time management...same as you
    2nd - prioritize...suz you know how i get going on projects...well, this month i focus 1st on the have to's then work on one fun project until it is done
    3rd- quality time...since p arrived i learned that when I make the time with someone...big g or little g or p...more quality I enjoy it and feel like I'm investing in the important things in life.

    Enjoyed this and thanks for sharing and making me think! hugs

  5. i can *so* relate Suz! i have been getting up before the kids again and OH what a difference it makes!!! why did i ever stop doing that??? i'm so proud of you for taking these steps that you're taking! inspiring. love you. xo